With less than two weeks left for the by-elections to the Shahdol (ST) Lok Sabha and Nepanagar (ST) assembly seats, both the ruling party and the Opposition have begun campaigning.
Congress chief whip in Lok Sabha, Jyotiraditya Scindia on Monday reached Shahdol constituency and started campaigning. He is likely to stay in the area for two days.
The Congress is likely to rake up the controversies over surgical strikes, killing of eight Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) activists in an alleged encounter and the Balaghat clashes in which members of the minority community were allegedly implicated under false charges under the pressure of the RSS to corner the ruling party.
Earlier, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and state BJP president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan, former Union minister Kamal Nath and state Congress president Arun Yadav held public meetings to woo voters and drum up support for their respective parties.
While Congress has fielded Himadri Singh, daughter of former Union minister Dalbir Singh and ex-MP Rajesh Nandini Singh, from Shahdol seat, the BJP has set up senior minister in Chouhan’s cabinet and tribal leader Gyan Singh from the reserve seat.
From Nepanagar, Congress has reposed faith in tribal leader Antar Singh Barde, while BJP has fielded Manju Dadu, daughter of late MLA Rajendra Shyamlal Dadu whose death necessitated the by-poll, to cash in on the sympathy vote.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has appointed observers for Shahdol Lok Sabha and Nepanagar assembly by-elections.
Tamil Nadu’s IAS officer Anil Meshram and IRS officer Vagish Chandra Mishra have been appointed as general and expenditure observers respectively for Shahdol by-poll.
Similarly, Telengana’s IAS officer B Venkatesham and Indian Audit and Accounts Service officer Pravir Kumar have been appointed as general and expenditure observers respectively for Nepanagar by-poll.